The American Christian United Choir got it right!
Say Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas One and All!
A breathless performance with Elvis Presley and Celine Dion, of the song "If I Can Dream"!
Enjoy the Wonders of Modern Miracles!
This is amazing!
Best viewed in Full Screen Format. Click box in lower right corner.
And so it goes...
“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion.”Scalia suggested that if Americans want a more secular political system, such as those in Europe, they can “enact that by statute, but to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd.”
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”So is the intent “freedom of religion,” or “freedom from religion”? Justice Scalia argues that it is the former:
“We do Him [God] honor in our pledge of allegiance, in all our public ceremonies. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.As a conservative on the bench, Scalia has endured the wrath of liberals for years. These comments are sure to add to the fire. His take on his critics?
I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution.”
“What can they do to me? I have life tenure.”
William Hugh Nelson was born in Abbott, Tex., in 1933 to a musically inclined couple: Ira and Myrle Nelson, who already had a 3-year-old daughter, Bobbie. Abbott is cotton country, and there's not much to do there, so Bobbie learned piano and Willie was writing poems by the time he was 4. Mostly they were sad — perhaps because his mother had left when he was 6 months old and his father wasn't around much.
When Bobbie was 16, she married a guy named Bud Fletcher, who had a western swing band. She played piano, and 13-year-old Willie signed on to play guitar — and almost immediately, he had a fan club. He fell into the life of a professional musician, and made his first recordings as a guitar player in 1954 in San Antonio. He had a job as a disc jockey there, and used the studio to record a song of his own: "When I've Sung My Last Hillbilly Song."
It wasn't much of a song, but the voice is recognizable. The record company he sent it to ignored it for a few decades, and Willie went on to DJ in Fort Worth. From there, he drifted to Portland, Ore., where he did more radio and gigged as a musician.
Somehow, he came to the attention of Nashville songwriter Mae Boren Axton, who encouraged him to move there, but he ran out of money on the road and wound up back in Fort Worth.
There, he made a record for the Houston-based D Records label, which did well enough that he was allowed a second one. The label decided it wasn't country enough and refused to release it, so Nelson and a friend released it under another name. It was the beginning of Willie Nelson the songwriter.
If anything was going to warn Nashville that this young songwriter wouldn't fit in, "Crazy" was it, but the country-pop crossover made famous by Patsy Cline has proven one of Nelson's most durable songs. After he wrote a song called "Family Bible" and sold it for $100, it became a smash country hit for Claude Gray. Pamper Music offered him a contract, and he finally moved to Nashville.
Hit after hit — for others — followed: "Nightlife," "Hello Walls," "Funny How Time Slips Away."
Because he was such a valuable hit-writer, record companies wanted him as an artist, because the publishing deal they'd strike with him would mean income for their bigger stars. Finally, in 1964, Nelson signed with Nashville's most prestigious label, RCA, but not much happened. He had put together a band with some of his Texas buddies — Johnny Bush, Jimmy Day on steel guitar, and drummer Paul English — but based on the evidence of "Me and Paul," one of his most famous songs from those years, the road wasn't that much fun, either.
In 1970, Nelson's Nashville house burned down, and he moved to the Hill Country just outside Austin, Tex., more depressed than he'd ever been. A year later, he recorded The Words Don't Fit the Picture, an album so dark that it barely sold, and has never been reissued.
Just when it seemed that Nelson had hit bottom, things turned around. He played a gig at an auto-dealership opening in Austin and noticed hippies in the crowd. When the local psychedelic dance hall, Armadillo World Headquarters, asked him if he'd like to do a show, he agreed. Odd songwriters began approaching him with distinctly Texan songs they'd written and were performing in small local clubs. Willie Nelson had found his people, and in 1973 he celebrated the Fourth of July with a small rock festival where a lot of these folks played.
His RCA contract ran out and he signed with Atlantic Records, where he made a concept album called Phases and Stages — a masterpiece. But the label closed its country division before it could become a hit.
From there, Nelson went to Columbia Records in 1975, and in a week he recorded another concept album: Red Headed Stranger, which contained his first hit, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain."
Willie Nelson became famous, and the more famous he became, the fewer songs he wrote — which, really, was fine. Those songs had been unutterably sad, and now Willie Nelson was happy.
And so it goes...
I can not believe that September 17th slipped by me unnoticed. September 17, 1862 is an important date in American history as it was on that date that the Battle of Antitam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, was fought. It became known as the bloodiest day in the Civil War. Eleven hours of the most savage fighting that has ever occurred on U.S. soil resulted in more than 23,000 casualties, including more than 3,500 dead.
On October 6, 2006 I posted to the Union and West End Cemetery blog a brief summary of this battle. A few days later I followed the life of Pvt. James L. Clader, a member of the 46th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Pvt. Clader's young life ended at Sharpsburg in the Battle of Antitam.
You can review both of this postings by clicking on the link shown below:
The Union and West End blog recapitulates many of the more well known events of the Civil War. If you have an interest in a particular battle of the Civil War, post the battles name in the 'search' window in the upper left hand corner of the blog. A brief history of the battle may have been previously posted to the blog.
And so it goes...
"Hey, Alan, let's get a few things straight!!!!!
1. As a career politician, you have been on the public dole (tit) for FIFTY YEARS.
2. I have been paying Social Security taxes for 48 YEARS (since I was 15 years old. I am now 63).
3. My Social Security payments, and those of millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in 'an interest bearing account' for decades until you political pukes decided to raid the account and give OUR money to a bunch of losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system and turning Social Security into a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.
4. Recently, just like Lucy and Charlie Brown, you and "your ilk" pulled the proverbial football away from millions of American seniors nearing retirement and moved the goalposts for full retirement from age 65 to age, 67. NOW, you and your "shill commission" are proposing to move the goalposts YET AGAIN .
5. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying into Medicare from day one, and now "you" propose to change the rules of the game. Why? Because "you" mismanaged other parts of the economy to such an extent that you need to steal our money from Medicare to pay the bills.
6. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying income taxes our entire lives, and now you propose to increase our taxes yet again. Why? Because you "incompetents" spent our money so profligately that you just kept on spending even after you ran out of money. Now, you come to the American taxpayers and say you need more to pay off YOUR debt.
7.To add insult to injury, you label us "greedy" for calling "bullshit" to your incompetence . Well, Captain Bullshit , I have a few questions for YOU:
a. How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers during your pathetic 50-year political career?
b. At what age did you retire from your pathetic political career, and how much are you receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers?
c. How much do you pay for YOUR government provided health insurance?
d. What cuts in YOUR retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or as usual, have you exempted yourself and your political cronies?
It is you, Captain Bullshit , and your political co-conspirators called Congress who are the "greedy" ones. It is you and your fellow thieves who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers. And for what? Votes, your job and retirement security at our expense, you leech.
That's right, sir. You and yours have bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your political careers. You know it, we know it, and you know that we know it. And you can take that to the bank you miserable son of a bitch .
NO, I did not stutter.
P.S. And stop calling Social Security benefits "entitlements". WHAT AN INSULT!!!! I have been paying in to the SS system for 45 years. It's my money-give it back to me the way the system was designed and stop patting yourself on the back like you are being generous by doling out these monthly checks.
If you like the way things are in America delete this.
If you agree with what a Montana citizen, Patty Myers, says, share the link!
And so it goes...
This is something I could never do now, even with my new knees,
but there was a time when, given the chance, I surely would have tried!
Now, like most of you...it is too late!
And she's a girl...How Cool is that?
All I can say to all of you is...When You Get The Chance
'I Hope You Dance!'
And so it goes...
Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams appears to have volunteered his first-class plane ticket to a Marine. The 31-year-old Williams posted a picture to his Twitter account Monday of the marine in full uniform next to his ticket. Accompanying the picture was a caption that reads, "I always give up my seat to military if my seat is better! I truly appreciate our troops #flyingtherightway"
DeAngelo Williams ✔ @DeAngeloRB
I always give up my seat to military if my seat is better! I truly appreciate our troops #flyingtherightway
12:19 PM - 7 Jul 2014
As of Monday afternoon, the tweet bearing the photo had been retweeted more than 100 times and favorited more than 200 times. Williams also posted the photo to Facebook, with a caption that reads "He just doesn't know it yet but he will be sitting in this seat when he boards the plane I always give up my 1st class seat! #isalutethetroops!" The post amassed more than 29,000 likes and 1,200 shares.
Williams has played eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers. The one-time Pro Bowler (2009) rushed for 843 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games last season.
SR Suntour forks on model year 2011 through 2013 Scott and Trek Bicycles: The front fork can break, posing a crash hazard. The recall includes SR Suntour front forks on 13 models of Scott and 11 models of Trek 2011, 2012, and 2013 bicycles. About 5200 forks on Scott bicycles and 120,000 forks on Trek bicycles were sold at bicycles stores nationwide from October 2010 to November 2013 for $450. To $1,100 for Scott bicycles and from May 2010 to June 2014 for $600 to $1,370 for Trek bicycles. For additional information, contact Scott USA at 888-607-8365 ext. 2012 or visit scott-sports.com or contact Trek at 800-373-4594 or visit trekbikes.com.
Ever since the founding of the United States, the Electoral College system has been used to decide the winner of Presidential elections.
But if a plan quickly making its way through state legislatures across the country gets enough support, the Electoral College – as we’ve known it throughout history – would be scrapped, and the winner would be based only on the national popular vote.
It may seem difficult to imagine, but here’s how the proposed plan would work.
This proposal – known as the Popular Vote Movement – involves an Interstate Compact where states would commit to select electors pledged to vote for the national popular vote winner, regardless of how their own state voted. Nine states and the District of Columbia (which cast a combined 136 electoral votes) have joined this compact: Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island.
Both houses in New York have passed this bill and it’s on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. It’s already passed in the House in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon. These states and New York represent 107 votes; combined with the others they add up to 242 votes.
If enough states pass this law to get at least 270 electoral votes (the majority of the Electoral College, and the number necessary to win a Presidential election), it will take effect.
Although this legislation is close to becoming reality, it’s not quite a done deal. It’s passed in the House in Arkansas and North Carolina (both red states), but not the Senate.
This bill is an end run around the regular constitutional amending process. Instead of requiring a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress and three-quarters of the states, this proposal would take effect when a simple majority approve it.
And the Electoral College system, which has been part of our representative republic, will be modified and converted to a pure democracy.
Who’s behind this bill and movement? It’s funded, in part, by the Center for Voting and Democracy – a George Soros-funded election group.
This proposal would encourage even more voter fraud in more populated (and left-leaning) states; and provide more incentive to allow illegal immigrants to vote.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, mischief, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.
National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression. One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.
The closest popular-vote election count over the last 130+ years of American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes. The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.
For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election–and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself. Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?
Over 90% of the contributions supporting the National Popular Vote effort have come—in about equal total amounts—from
● Tom Golisano, who has funded about 45% of National Popular Vote, is a pro-life, registered Republican businessman , living in Florida, and a founding member of the Independence Party of New York who ran on its ticket for governor of New York in 1994, 1998 and 2002 and
● John R. Koza who is a pro-choice, registered Democratic businessman residing in California. The National Advisory Board of National Popular Vote includes former Congressmen John Buchanan (R–Alabama), Tom Campbell (R–California), and Tom Downey (D–New York), and former Senators Birch Bayh (D–Indiana), David Durenberger (R–Minnesota), and Jake Garn (R–Utah).
Supporters include former Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN), Governor Jim Edgar (R–IL), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), and Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee.
The Nebraska GOP State Chairman, Mark Fahleson,Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, who wrote “A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College.”
The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.
The Electoral College is now the set of 538 dedicated party activists, who vote as rubberstamps for presidential candidates. In the current presidential election system, 48 states award all of their electors to the winners of their state. This is not what the Founding Fathers intended.
The Founding Fathers in the Constitution did not require states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.
A majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the methods rejected by the Founders in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.
The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, were eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the
Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Now our current system can be changed by state laws again.
National Popular Vote is based on Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives each state legislature the right to decide how to appoint its own electors. Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the
Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”
The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state’s electoral votes
The Republic is not in any danger from National Popular Vote.
National Popular Vote has nothing to do with pure democracy. Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a republic, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government.
In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).
Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent or past closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA –75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%;
in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and
in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win. The National Popular Vote bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, and large states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect. .